Travel to the stars

Observatories in Chile

Experts observe the cosmos from Chile. And non-experts do, too, because astronomy tourism is becoming increasingly attractive.

Thursday, July 30, 2009  
Cometa Mc Naught Alma Cometa Mc Naught (Photo:Alma)

Observing the cosmos through Chilean skies is not just a privilege for international astronomers and scientists in training. In addition to its modern facilities and complexes, there is an attractive circuit of observatories that receive visitors, tourists, and people interested in observing the stars.


Paranal observatory

In the Second Region of Antofagasta at 2,635 meters above sea level. It is operated by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and includes the Very Large Telescope, VLT, a system of four huge optic telescopes and four auxiliary telescopes.
Contact (55) 281291 o sstrunk@eso.org 


La Silla observatory

Equipped with 14 optical mirror telescopes with diameters up to 3.6 meters. La Silla is one of the biggest astronomical observation centers on an international level.
Contact: (2) 4633100 or recepstg@eso.org.
Visits must be coordinated a month in advance.


Cerro Tololo

This is an observatory with a high scientific level, located 87 kilometers east of La Serena and 2,200 meters above sea level. Tololo has eight telescopes and a radio telescope. There are Spanish and English speaking guides for tours that last approximately two hours.
Contact: (51) 205200 or ctiorecp@noao.edu
Visits must be coordinated a month in advance.


Cerro Mamalluca tourist observatory

The first tour begins in Mamalluca at 18:30 and the last one at 03:15. They can be basic or advanced level and include exhibits on the Inca cosmovision.
Contact: (51) 411352 or observatorio@mamalluca.org  


Cruz del Sur (Southern Cross) Observatory

This is one of the largest "astrotourism" centers in South America and it is located in the town of Combarbala, in the Coquimbo region. The project was launched by the Municipality of Combarbala and the Planetarium of the University of Santiago de Chile. It has observation domes with 16-inch telescopes and showrooms. The tickets can be bought in the Municipality of Combarbala, Plaza de Armas 166 Telephone: (56 - 53) 741033 and you can find more information on the website.

Cerro Las Campanas Observatory

It belongs to the Carnegie Southern Observatory, CARS, and is located 154 kilometers north of La Serena at an altitude of 2,510 meters above sea level. It has four telescopes (the largest one is 2.5 meters in diameter) and it is operated by the Carnegie Institution of Washington with the participation of the University of Chile.

Soar Telescope

Located in the Cerro Pachon in the Elqui Valley, this telescope is part of the Southern Observatory for Astrophysical Research. The primary mirror is 4.1 meters in diameter and four inches thick. It is operated by more than one hundred scientists and members of a consortium formed by the NOAO, the University of Michigan and North Carolina and Brazilian scientists of the National Scientific and Technological Development CNPq, the agency of the Ministry of Science and Technology and MCT LNA Astrophysics National Laboratory, located in Itajubá.

Gemini South Observatory

Gemini is an astronomical project of international cooperation that involves the U.S., the UK, Canada, Australia, Chile, Argentina and Brazil. It operates two telescopes of 8.1 meters, one located in the Mauna Kea mountain in Hawaii, United States and the other on Cerro Pachon, in the Elqui Valley.

El Pangue observatory

Located 18 kilometers from Vicuña, El Pangue observatory offers programs for the general public and for amateurs who want to make their own telescope observations without time restrictions.
Contact: (51) 543810.


Collowara tourist observatory

Collowara has powerful 14-inch Schmidt Cassegrain telescopes, a projection and conference room with a capacity for 54 people, and three direct observation decks in a cross shape facing east.
Contact: (51) 432964 or contacto@collowara.cl


Cerro Mayu observatory 

Mayu has a 14-inch Schmidt Cassegrain Meade LX200 telescope and receives visitors from Monday through Saturday between 20:30 and 22:30.
Contact: (51) 224508 - 212024 or informaciones@cerromayu.cl 


Cancana observatory

Located in Cochiguaz, 1,500 meters above sea level, Cancana received an investment of US$ 60,000.
Contact: (569) 90473859 or refugiocochiguaz@gmail.com

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